Columbus Academy Roundup: Boys basketball team showing toughness
Columbus Academy boys basketball coach Jeff Warstler is excited about his players’ work ethic and dedication to the game.
The Vikings opened MSL-Ohio Division play with a 58-47 loss at Whitehall on Jan. 5, a game they led midway through the fourth quarter.
“I feel good where we’re at,” Warstler said. “These guys are invested. We play hard and guard, that’s what we do. We won’t quit against anybody. We’ll just keep fighting. Most guys in our room wouldn’t know what our record is. They just go play.”
The Vikings were 3-3 overall and 0-1 in the league before playing Bexley on Jan. 12.
Academy was scheduled to play Grandview on Jan. 9, but that game was postponed because of COVID-19 issues with a program on the Bobcats’ schedule. The game will be played Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Academy will visit Wellington on Friday, Jan. 15.
The Vikings and Whitehall played a tight game until the final minutes, with Academy taking its final lead at 41-40 on Brady Hess’ 3-pointer with 3 minutes, 57 seconds remaining.
The Rams closed the game on an 18-6 run.
“It was a good ballgame,” Warstler said. “I thought they wore us down just a little bit in the second half (with) offensive rebounds. We had some opportunities.”
Kevin Reeves led the Vikings with 13 points and Tanner Compton added 10.
Academy erased a 15-point, second-half deficit in a 77-70 win over Caledonia River Valley on Dec. 28. Reeves had 20 points, followed by Hess with 19 and Compton with 18.
Academy lost to Fredericktown 52-48 on Dec. 30.
Through six games, Reeves led the Vikings in scoring (15.3 points) and rebounding (7.2), Parker Logan led in assists (4.3) and Hess led in steals (2.0).
“We’re fighting hard every night,” Hess said. “We’re not losing any games by a big margin that we can’t come back from, can’t compete in, so we’re happy with how we’re playing (with) a lot of effort all over the place.”
Sonari Hart has been a key contributor off the bench.
“I love where we’re at right now,” he said. “We fight hard every practice. We give it all in our games and we leave nothing on the court. I thought we could win that (Whitehall) game. I didn’t think they were that much better than us. We were playing just as well they were, but our shots just weren’t falling.”
The hockey team remains in the CHC-Blue title chase.
The Vikings were third at 4-5-0-1 (9 points) before playing first-place Olentangy (12, 6-3) on Jan. 8.
“We’re looking great,” coach Corey Taber said. “Everyone is playing well, so we’ve had a lot of good, close games. Our Blue Division is very competitive. We’re excited to see what happens this month now that we’re more into a season groove.”
Academy defeated Dublin Scioto 8-3 on Dec. 31 and lost to Thomas Worthington 8-0 on Jan. 2.
Julius Feibel led Academy against Scioto with two goals and an assist.
Through nine games, Jake Carlin led the team in scoring with six goals and seven assists for 13 points, followed by Max Walker with seven goals and five assists for 12 points.
Campbell Gwin had five goals.
Goalie Max Crane had an .894 save percentage.
“Max has been doing very well,” Taber said. “He’s a fourth-year player. He’s been great. We’ve had to lean on him quite a bit and he’s faced a lot of shots.”
two new coaches
Academy will have a pair of new coaches in the spring.
Morgan Fee Maldovan has replaced Anne Horton as girls lacrosse coach and Ashlee Abraham has taken over for Denny Hammond as track and field coach.
Fee Maldovan, 26, is a 2013 graduate of New Albany, where she helped lead the girls lacrosse team to a Division II state title as a senior. She went on to play at Ohio State and later served as an assistant coach at Kent State for two years.
“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity,” said Fee Maldovan, who also coaches for the Major Force Lacrosse club program. “A lot of the (Academy) girls play club, so I’ve met them in some capacity. ... We’ve started our offseason lifting, so I’ve been able to get on campus and meet the girls.”
Fee Maldovan also is in her first season as an assistant hockey coach at Academy.
Horton was preparing to begin her 26th season last year when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of spring sports. Her career record is 332-88-8.
“There’s a heavy heart on this one,” said Horton, who will remain as the school’s field hockey coach and assistant athletics director. “When the school year started, I had every intention of coaching this spring. As I got into the middle of the fall and was having so many health issues, and I had to miss a field hockey game. We’re still struggling to get it all figured out.
“I had to make some adjustments because I had to look at the long-life decisions. It was the right thing to do.”
Under Horton, the Vikings won Division II state titles in 2012 and 2015 and the Division I state championship in 2000. They were Division I state runners-up in 2001, 2002 and 2006.
Academy lost to DeSales in the past three Division II, Region 7 title games.
“Anne has done a great job with the girls,” Fee Maldovan said. “She’s been able to pull girls from both sides because of her field hockey connection and getting them over to the lacrosse team and vice versa. I’m excited to keep the legacy going with the lacrosse program.”
Abraham, 29, is a 2009 graduate of Renaissance High School in Detroit and was a sprinter at Eastern Michigan and Ohio State. She was the middle school coach at Academy beginning in 2015 before accepting an assistant position with the high school program in 2018.
“The team was really looking really good last year, so I was upset when COVID happened,” Abraham said. “That’s OK because we have a good group coming back this year. I’m excited to work with them and we’ve already started training.”
Hammond was Academy’s track coach for five seasons. He also stepped down as cross country coach after six seasons.